Background: The nursing minimum data set (NMDS) was created in 1977 in the United States to collect uniform standardised data that could be comparable among different nursing areas or patients. So far, in the literature, an NMDS in an oncology setting has not yet been described. Considering an oncology nursing minimum data set (ONMDS), which data could be chosen to define this tool regarding cancer patient care?
Material and methods: At the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), 20 experienced oncology nurses representing surgical, medical, and critical areas participated in a nursing record working group. All nurses followed an educational course on NMDS, and they shared clinical experiences to find which data common among different areas could be useful to care. To identify these data, nurses considered three issues: what is nursing care for nurses in the IEO? What is the nurses’ responsibility in the IEO? What is the organisational nursing model in the IEO? Nurses in the IEO are autonomous in decision making and recognised by patients and by a multi-professional team; the organisational nursing model is primary nursing with patient-centred care. Nursing data must therefore show the quality and results of this care. With this in mind, the working group decided to orient the ONMDS toward nursing-sensitive outcomes (NSOs), meeting also with psychologists, physiotherapists, and dieticians. Nurses analysed Oncology Nursing Society outcomes, and through focus groups, experiential meetings, role playing, and case studies, they integrated them with other NSOs.
Results: The ONMDS is composed of 49 NSOs recognised as the most common and frequent oncologic outcomes regardless of the treatment that the patient undergoes. These outcomes were clustered into 15 categories. The categories are: gastrointestinal outcomes, genitourinary outcomes, respiratory outcomes, skin outcomes, fluid and electrolyte balance outcomes, neurological outcomes, security, functional status, vascular access outcomes, nutritional status, pain, psychosocial discomfort, activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities daily living (IADL), and self-care outcomes.
Conclusions: Efforts to identify an ONMDS based on NSOs allow us to develop an tool that can standardise language, assessment, and intervention, but overall could be used to measure nursing care. To evaluate these potentialities, the ONMDS was introduced into nursing records, and it was tested with a pre–post research study.